I have been working since I was 14 years old. While I was still at school, in the evenings I used to babysit for one of my teachers, and on Saturdays and Sundays I would work as a waitress in a hotel. From a very young age I was no stranger to work. When I was 16, I decided school wasn’t for me, because it didn’t allow me the independence I needed, I left home and school to seek out a life in the ‘real’ world. What I discovered, was that I needed to work very hard to pay bills, have a car, a roof over my head, and still have a life, so I was taking jobs wherever I could, working days and nights. This was good for me, it forced me to get used to hard work from a young age. Since I had successfully made it through the first 7 years of my life since I went out alone, and by 23 had managed to purchase a few houses and made it through several promotions, I decided to become a business owner, realising that no matter how hard I had worked before I would have to work significantly harder without a guaranteed regular monthly pay cheque.
When I am asked the question about if someone can survive as a business owner or whether someone will be able to make a living, of course I have to say yes, it’s entirely possible, but what I feel should be expressed in this is the amount of work that will need to be put in during the initial phases.
My VA company is now 4 years old, and I am fortunate enough to be living a great lifestyle, I support my family of 4, we live very comfortably, I don’t have any credit cards or loans, I don’t work all hours in the day, but this picture 4 years earlier was very, very different.
Whilst I have never gone into debt, I almost did during the first year, it was a struggle, sitting at my desk night and day trying to get clients, market the business, and fiddling around trying to improve my website over and over, this in addition to doing all the billable time for the clients I did have. That combination of business development and servicing clients was pretty brutal during the ‘in between’ phase, but throughout the second year things started to improve and by the 3rd and forth years, I was able to really experience the benefits of all my hard work during those first 2 years.
When you go it alone, and you have a family you are responsible for, you are in a very scary situation, and if you don’t appear to be making headway quickly enough, you can scare yourself into several things:
- Giving up and going back to employment.
- Feeling depressed and feeling like a failure.
- Thinking things should have started to happen much quicker.
- Wondering if you have done the right thing starting a business in the first place.
There is no way I can say to everyone yes it guaranteed, you will be fine, everyone is different, their lives are different, and their backgrounds are different, I have come to realise over the years that success is down to your own choices, but like anything, it will happen quicker for some people than others. If you trust in yourself, never lose faith in yourself, and make a solid, binding agreement with yourself, that no matter what happens, you will keep going until you make it work… you won’t go far wrong.
If you have started a business and it’s not where it needs to be, the answer is to make a change, try a new technique, find out what works for you, everyone is different, but don’t dwell on the things that haven’t worked. You’ll make mistakes, you may take 1 step forward and 2 steps back, and you may cut things very close to the line, but by making that agreement with yourself that you won’t give up until you succeed, then success is inevitable…
One final tip, you need a good solid guide to follow, I believe my situation could of turned around much quicker with the right kind of support.
Whatever you do, you need to love it and care about it with your heart, and not just use it as a means to an end with your head. Many businesses are developed strategically, I don’t deny it, but those that fail, may not have been worth fighting for in the first place…. Is yours?